My Masters program included my student teaching, and we would end each instructional day with a co-hort meeting to debrief and diffuse. I often remember my professor telling us to not take it personally after we shared our moments of frustration and the things students told us about our teaching abilities (usually during our instruction!). While I loved my co-hort professor, I now believe she was 100% WRONG! We should take it personally.
As the school year winds to a close, our students often say things that we should and NEED to hear. They tell us the good things we have done and the areas in which we need to improve. They tell us, simply, what they liked about us, and what they didn't. Take it personally.
To end my classes this year, I am giving each student their final exit slip. It is a two-part survey where they answer questions about their own setbacks and successes, and they have the opportunity to honestly tell me what they think. I also include a writing assignment where they are to write themselves, discussing where they will go from here and questioning themselves on what they will need (to do) to get there. But, the parts I focus on the most are the ones that tell me what I did wrong... and what I did right! I take it personally.
The "professional" explanation for this is simple. I can apply their advice to my teaching and work toward making myself a better teacher with their words of inspiration. However, I find the "in your face" explanation much more relevant. I need to know if I have made a difference in their lives. I want to know if they have learned anything in my classes this year. And most importantly, while I am not concerned about their "liking" me, I do care whether or not I have earned their respect. I take it very personally.